July 30, 2012
KT Corp – 8.7 Million South Korean Cellphone Accounts Hacked, Two Arrested
John Neumann for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Police in South Korean have arrested two men who allegedly stole the personal information from nearly 8.7 million cellphone customers from KT Corp., the second biggest mobile carrier and the largest fixed-line telephone company in South Korea, writes Emil Protalinski for ZDNet.
The mobile carrier alerted police on July 13 after detecting traces of hacking attacks after determining the data had been collected for the last five months.
“It took nearly seven months to develop the hacking program and (the suspects) had very sophisticated hacking skills,” a KT Corp. spokesperson told Yonhap News. “In light of this incident, we will strengthen the internal security system and raise awareness of security among all employees to prevent causing inconvenience to customers.”
The pair managed to steal $877,000 from the hacking scheme and selling the program as well as mobile subscriber data to telemarketing companies which used the details to solicit the customers to switch to other mobile operators, reports Associated Press.
The two men, one a former KT Corp. employee, developed a hack that copied the names of customers, phone numbers, residential registration numbers, and phone contract details of more than half of KT Corp.´s customers. Seven other people who allegedly bought and distributed the hacking program and the stolen personal data were also booked without physical detention.
“We deeply bow our head in apology for having your precious personal information leaked... we´ll try our best to make such things never happen again,” KT said in a statement to customers. That apology may not be enough; KT could easily end up facing a class action lawsuit filed by angry subscribers.